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Politics

Political Bits and Pieces

April 2, 2014 - 6:00pm
Surrogates are increasingly playing prominent roles in the Florida gubernatorial contest. Looking to win members of his new party over to him, former Gov. Charlie Crist had former state Sen. Dan Gelber out front this week, hitting Gov. Rick Scott for cutting education. The Crist team sent out an email from Gelber to supporters on Wednesday trying to rally Democrats against Scott on education. An early supporter of Crist who welcomed the former Republican to the Democrats, Gelber has garnered some buzz as a possible running mate for Crist. A favorite of Florida liberals, Gelber led Democrats in the Florida House and was their nominee against Pam Bondi for attorney general back in 2010. ... Scott continues to rely on Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera to keep the Republican base behind him. Lopez-Cantera headed to Lecanto on Friday night to speak at the Citrus County Republican Party Lincoln Heritage Dinner. Republicans also called upon Lopez-Cantera to counter Democratic attacks on Scotts term in office being bad for Hispanics. Lopez-Cantera also joined with Florida TaxWatch as that group revealed its Prudential Productivity Award winners at the Florida Capitol on Thursday. ... Trying to catch Crist in the Democratic primary, former Florida Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich looked to hit him and Scott on the issue of abortion this week. Rick Scott has supported every bill to restrict womens reproductive rights that has passed his way, Rich insisted. And Charlie Crist once said, Im pro-life, isnt everybody? Both of their positions are crystal clear. Rich contrasted those positions with her longtime pro-choice positions. ...


U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller
, R-Fla., is looking at making a major move in Congress. Currently the chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, Miller is looking to become the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee after U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., announced he would not run for re-election this year. Miller faces some opponents who are looking to replace Rogers, including U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who is a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016, and U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, named Miller to the Intelligence Committee back in 2009. ... Staying on the Intelligence Committee, former CIA Acting Director Mike Morell testified before it on Wednesday over the Benghazi attack and felt the heat from U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla. The Florida congressman demanded to know what can be done to ensure something like the Benghazi attack never happens again and questioned the decision not to use the military to respond. ... Later on Wednesday, Rooney took to the national airwaves, appearing on Fox News and insisting the Obama administration had political concerns with the Benghazi incident. Rooney attacked the administration for relying on false talking points after the incident. ...

Freshman U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., broke with his fellow Democrats at the end of last week and took aim at the Obama administration for relying on Medicare Advantage funds to fund its federal health-care law. Murphy took to the floor of the House and demanded the administration not cut Medicare Advantage. ... This week, from his perch on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committees Health Subcommittee, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., warned that new FDA regulations would lead to an increase in the prices of generic drugs. "FDAs new regulations change drug labeling from a top down, synthesized approach, to one that will cause confusion for drug companies and consumers, Bilirakis said. The results of these regulations for generic drug companies are clear: they will be forced to spend more money protecting themselves from frivolous lawsuits and increased costs. Bilirakis, who wrote FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg on the issue back in January, insisted the costs will be passed on to consumers. ... Republican congressional hopeful Juan Garcia turned up the heat on U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., hitting her for backing un-American Obamacare and insisting the congresswoman was running scared. Wasserman Schultz blew out 2012 foe Karen Harrington by 27 percent in 2012. ...

Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, was already facing a major Democratic opponent in Daisy Baez but, this week, another serious contender jumped in for that partys nomination. Ross Hancock came close to upsetting Fresen in 2012 and he filed to run for a rematch. Amory Bodin is also seeking a rematch after Fresen crushed him in the Republican primary in 2012. ... Social and religious conservative group Florida Family Policy Council filed a motion on Wednesday to intervene in two cases as it looks to ensure only traditional marriage is recognized in the Sunshine State. Florida Family Action, the groups political arm, was active in passing a state constitutional amendment in 2008 recognizing only traditional marriage in Florida. ...Former state Rep. Mike Weinstein filed to run for a public defender position on the First Coast. Weinstein had been expected to run for City Council in Jacksonville.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

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